Kathmandu, April 21 (IANS) Six splinter groups of Nepal’s Maoist party are demanding withdrawal of civil war-era cases against UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and other leaders from regular courts and repeal of Supreme Court verdicts, saying there was a conspiracy to derail the peace process.
Maoist rebels had launched an armed camapign against the monarchy in 1996 that lasted till 2006, after the Maoists were not allowed to participate in a national election.
According to a peace accord signed in 2007, it was agreed that all war-era cases would be dealt by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and not by regular courts. The Maoists later became the largest party in the Constituent Assembly after the 2008 elections.
Two transitional justice mechanisms — TRC and the Commission on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CEDP) — were set up which sought complaints from victims of the decade-long war to find out the truth and deliver justice to the survivors.
Now, the six Maoist splinter groups are pressing the government to address all war-era cases through the TRC and CEDP and not by regular courts.
Sources said the demand has come as the Maoists feel they may be jailed if cases of abuses are proven against them by the courts.
The Maoists, in a statement, have urged the government to forward the cases handled by police and courts to the two commissions.
According to a press statement, the six parties said they have decided to establish a joint legal desk to study the war-era cases and offer recommendations to the government.
On Wednesday, Sabitri Chiwal, the widow of Ganesh Chilwal of Lamjung distinct who was allegedly killed by the Maoists, filed a complaint against Prachanda at the TRC’s Kathmandu office, saying her husband was killed under Dahal’s directions.
After the TRC and CEDP sought complaints, hundreds of people — victims and families of deceased, people who said they were tortured or raped — reached the 75 offices at the district headquarters to lodge complaints against the Maoists and security officials involved in human rights abuse.
Over 9,000 cases of human rights abuses have been registered by various international agencies.
Sources said that Prachanda is now taking the lead to bring all Maoist splinter groups under one roof and asked them to be vigilant, saying any kind of conspiracy can be hatched against them.
A joint statement issued on Thursday by the Maoists said that there was a conspiracy to derail the peace process.
Many cases against top Maoist leaders are being looked at by the Supreme Court.
The six groups are demanding withdrawal of cases against Forest Minister Agni Sapkota, repeal of the Supreme Court verdict against former Maoist lawmaker Bal Krishna Dhungel, and withdrawal of cases against Prachanda and other leaders.
(Anil Giri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)